Bible 101

10 questions & answers

What is the Bible?

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. It is a collection of sixty-six different books, written by approximately 40 authors over a span of 1,500 years. The Bible includes books of the law, like Leviticus; books of prophecy, like Isaiah and Revelation; books of poetry, like the Psalms; biographies, such as Matthew and John; historical books, like Ezra and Acts, and finally, epistles (formal letters), like Ephesians and 1 Peter.

Is the Bible truly God’s Word?

Yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word. We can trust its message and truths to be timeless and flawless in every way. There is much evidence to support this both within the pages of the Bible itself and through outside historical writings. What is most remarkable about the Bible is its consistency in message written over a span of 1,500 years by approximately 40 different authors. Only God, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could maintain such a consistency.

Does the Bible contain errors?

The original manuscripts, written by the original authors, are flawless. They were written down by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are without error, conveyed exactly how God intended. We do not have the original manuscripts in our possession today. We have copies of copies of copies. However, the copies we have are 99% in agreement with one another. The 1% difference accounts for minor scribal errors done in copying such as punctuation, word order, or grammatical errors. These errors in no way affect the truths of the Bible or contradict its message.

How can I understand the Bible?

Some truths of the Bible are easy to understand while others are difficult to understand. The more time we spend reading the Bible, studying it, meditating on it, and memorizing it, the more we will understand the nature of God and our relationship with Him. If we have entered into a personal relationship with God, then we have received the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to help us understand and apply biblical truths to our lives. Understanding the Bible becomes much easier with the help of the Holy Spirit. If you want to know how you can receive the Holy Spirit and enter into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, visit the Knowing Christ page.

What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

The Old Testament are the books written before Jesus came to earth (Genesis to Malachi) and the New Testament are the books written after Jesus came to earth (Matthew to Revelation). The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ and the New Testament tells about Jesus Christ. It is important we study both the Old and New Testaments because we would not understand one without the other.

What are the original languages of the Old Testament and New Testament?

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament was originally written in Greek.

Why are there so many versions/translations of the Bible?

As language changes with each new generation, the Bible needs to be translated to reflect those changes. We are blessed to be living in a time when we have many different English translations of the Bible to select from. We are also blessed to be living in a time when the Bible has been translated to many different languages around the world.

Which Bible translation is the best?

There is no one right translation of the Bible. However, there are some translations that are better than others—that are easier to read and are more accurate to the original languages. It is a good practice to have more than one translation to read and study from. Different nuances and word selection help to gain a deeper understanding of the text. Encouraging Women for Christ uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible, or HCSB, as its primary translation. It was selected for its accuracy to the original languages and its readability.

Where is a good place to begin reading the Bible?

If you are reading the Bible for the first time, there are many different places to begin. You cannot go wrong by reading the Bible! This is just a suggestion to get you started. Begin by reading one the gospels first—Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. After reading one, several or all of the gospels, read one of the epistles written by Paul, such as Romans. Then go on to the Old Testament and read Psalms or Proverbs. Then read Genesis. This will give you a great start to understanding God’s Word.

What is the difference between the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are four different accounts of Jesus’ life on earth. You will notice that Matthew, Mark and Luke give similar accounts while John’s focus is different. Matthew was written to a primarily Jewish audience. Mark gives a quick-account, almost like reading a screenplay. Luke tends to give the most details and is written to a Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. John allots much of his account to the last week of Jesus’ life before His crucifixion and resurrection.

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